Cisco NETCONF vs NETCONF-YANG: Difference and Comparison

Cisco NETCONF and NETCONF-YANG may seem to be the same. They aren’t the same in any way, but they are used at the same level. Both these together help in networking and are part of modern networking systems.

The need for both Cisco NETCONF and NETCONF-YANG has arrived due to the limitation of traditional CLI modes and SNMP in a cloud-based network.

Key Takeaways

  1. NETCONF is a protocol used for network configuration management, while NETCONF YANG is a data modeling language used to define the configuration and state data.
  2. NETCONF uses XML encoding to exchange messages between the server and client, while NETCONF YANG provides a structured approach to representing configuration and state data.
  3. NETCONF and NETCONF YANG are complementary technologies that work together to provide a robust and flexible network management solution.


Cisco Netconf is a network protocol, while Netconf-yang is a data model. Cisco Netconf is responsible for managing varying definitions between devices of different vendors, while Netconf Yang pushes configuration to different devices and pulls configuration from different devices.


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Cisco NETCONF is responsible for configuring network devices. It can be from one-to-many or many-to-one networking devices. In simple words, it helps to automate the configuration of devices.

Cisco NETCONF works to solve the problem of definition differences between different vendors. Cisco NETCONF uses a C/S communication mode that makes the work of engineers very easy.

NETCONF-YANG is an important part of Cisco NETCONF as it helps the client and server communicate with each other forming a data model. It helps in pulling and pushing configuration.

NETCONF-YANG is the reason why management applications and routers or switches identify XML packages sent by each other.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonCisco NETCONFNETCONF-YANG
DefinitionIt is a network management protocol.NETCONF-YANG is a data model of NETCONF.
FunctionIt is responsible for managing definition differences between devices.It is responsible for pushing and pulling those configurations.
FormationIt has several hierarchical protocol frameworks.It is a part of the hierarchical protocol framework of Cisco NETCOF.
Replacement to It is a replacement for traditional CLI modes and SNMP.It is a new type of data model.
ProvidersIt is only provided by Cisco.It has several providers like Cisco, Juniper, and Ericsson

What is Cisco NETCONF?

Cisco NETCONF is a protocol for the management of network devices. It works for acquiring the network configuration and status. It is a protocol similar to SNMP. SNMP uses MIB files to model data in the same way Cisco NETCONF uses YANG to describe data models so as to facilitate communication.

The demand for Cisco NETCONF arrived because of several disadvantages of traditional CLI modes and SNMP in a cloud-based network. In a traditional SNMP, there is a man and machine interface. Its configuration is complex, and the cost of manual learning, configuration, and maintenance is high.

In SNMP, the configuration varies with vendors, which makes the device interworking difficult. This increases engineers’ work as they need to break down the client requirement into specific functions. Moreover, an engineer focuses less on client requests and more on the device, which leads to a wastage of time.

All these limitations are satisfied by Cisco NETCONF as it focuses on the definition differences between different devices of different vendors. Cisco NETCONF has high efficiency than SNMP. NETCONF uses the C/S communication mode.

Generally, NMS functions as a client, and a router or switch functions as a server. NETCONF uses a hierarchical protocol framework including the content layer, operations layer, messages layer, and secure transport layer.


NETCONF-YANG is a data model of NETCONF. It is responsible for the content layer of the NETCONF hierarchical protocol framework. A YANG model helps in receiving and delivering the configuration between a client and a server.

Since the same YANG model exists on the client and the server, the XML packets generated by the client that complies with network communication requirements are delivered to the server, which is hence able to identify the XML packets.

The server further performs operations that are needed to achieve communication. In simple words, the NETCONF-YANG is responsible for configuration, status, and statistics isolation. The speed of this configuration is far faster than that of a traditional SNMP.

A NETCONF-YANG is also responsible for modelling the state of key layers in NETCONF. NETCONF-YANG facilitates communication in all different types of different devices. Hence the device type is not an issue when NETCONF-YANG is present for configuration.

Overall, NETCONF-YANG is an important part of NETCONF. Without NETCONF-YANG, there could be no possibility of communication between the client and the server. It is the same as two people not having a common language to communicate, and NETCONF-YANG hence comes to the rescue.

Main Differences Between Cisco NETCONF and NETCONF-YANG

  1. Cisco NETCONF is responsible for managing definition differences between devices, whereas NETCONF-YANG is responsible for pushing and pulling those configurations.
  2. Cisco NETCONF is a network management protocol, whereas NETCONF-YANG is a data model of NETCONF.
  3. Cisco NETCONF has several hierarchical protocol frameworks that include the content layer, operations layer, messages layer, and secure transport layer. The NETCONF-YANG is a part of the content layer of the Cisco NETCONF.
  4. Cisco NETCONF is a network management protocol of its own, whereas NETCONF-YANG is just a small part of the protocol.
  5. NETCONF-YANG is a data model which is supported by all the providers like Cisco, Juniper, and Ericsson, whereas Cisco NETCONF is only supported in Cisco.

Last Updated : 07 August, 2023

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